By Ashley Dunkak
COMERICA PARK (CBS DETROIT) – The Los Angeles Dodgers pulled off a bit of a coup by pitching ace Clayton Kershaw on short rest and ended up stamping their ticket to the National League Championship Series.
Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland will not go as far as to start Game 1 starter Max Scherzer in Game 4, he did concede he might use Scherzer, who started the All-Star Game and is a favorite for the AL Cy Young, at some point.
“I could possibly use him out of the bullpen today,” Leyland said. “We’re going to wait and see how he feels. He might be able to pitch a couple innings if necessary. I will tend to lean on the cautious side with something that like. We’d have to be totally convinced that we’re not risking anything.”
If Detroit is behind, Scherzer is unlikely to see any time. If the Tigers are trying to hold onto a lead, it could be a different story.
“It’s a possibility I would put him in for maybe innings seven and eight if we were ahead and Doug was a little bit out of gas,” Leyland said. “That’s a possibility.”
When the team takes batting practice, Scherzer will throw and see how he is feeling. Unless Scherzer is 100 percent confident, Leyland will not use him at all.
“If he feels like he is really good and his arm’s really good, there’s a possibility we would do it,” Leyland said. “If everything isn’t exactly right, and the stars aren’t lined up exactly right, I would never do it. I would never take a chance.
“I wouldn’t risk anybody, let alone Max Scherzer,” Leyland added. “I wouldn’t risk any pitcher, ask them to do something that – it doesn’t always work, when you bring those starters out of the bullpen. Sometimes it does and it’s a great story and it’s a great question.
Even if Scherzer is available to pitch in relief, Leyland did not sound too optimistic about what the results would be.
“I haven’t really had a lot of luck with that in my career to be honest with you, bringing a starter out, but we’ll see,” Leyland said.
In an ideal scenario for the Tigers, the team would win without needing Scherzer and use him to start Game 5. If the Tigers do need Scherzer to win Game 4, though, 2011 Cy Young winner and MVP Justin Verlander will start Game 5.